First Aid Kit
Every home should have a first aid kit. Although there are many so-called first aid kits on the market, many are not comprehensive enough to be useful.
The American Red Cross suggests your kit contain the following items, but remember this is only a guide. Add products that are unique to your situation. Print a copy of this page (or the corresponding monthly form) to use as your shopping list and mark items off as you acquire them.
- (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
- 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing
- conforming roller gauze bandage
- triangular bandages
- 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads
- (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads
- roll 3″ cohesive bandage
- germicidal hand wipes or water-less alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- (6) antiseptic wipes
- pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
- Adhesive tape, 2″ width
- Anti-bacterial ointment
- Cold pack
- Scissors (small, personal)
- Pocket knife
- A CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield – (This device can be found online at reasonable prices, but using it requires some training. If you don’t know this valuable life skill, check with your local chapter of the American Red Cross to see if they offer courses free of charge. Also check with your local fire department, they may offer free CPR training as well.)
The kit (minus the CPR breathing barrier) can be purchased at most supermarkets, drug stores or “big box” stores (i.e., Costco/Sam’s). If you choose to make a kit from the above list you will spend approximately the same amount of money as those that are professionally packaged. If you create your own, you will end up with more supplies than the amounts on the list, but you will have invested some of your time…so it’s a trade-off.
Keep your kit separate from your regular adhesive bandages and items you keep for regular use. Your disaster kit is the one you use only in a real emergency. It’s not to be raided or used day-to-day.
Non-prescription medicines are generally not included in first aid kits, so you’ll need to purchase them on your own.
NOTE: Syrup of Ipecac used to be recommended to induce vomiting in the event of poisoning, but it is no longer available. Now, Poison Control recommends you read the label of the suspect product or call them directly for proper instructions on what to do. Their nationwide toll-free numbers is 1 800 222-1222 or search their website at http://www.aapcc.org/DNN/. Unfortunately, we were unable to determine what they recommend if a major emergency renders telephone or internet service useless, and communication with Poison Control impossible.
If anyone in your family is taking prescription medications you will need extra doses. Talk with your insurance provider to see what can be done about allowing for early refills or ask your doctor for samples so you can build up a reserve. Store the newest medications that are taken routinely in your kit. Work from older to newer medication to be sure you are not taking expired drugs! That goes for over-the-counter drugs as well.
Excess heat or sun can damage and weaken drug integrity, so store your kit in such a way that drug effectiveness is not compromised. Be sure your kit is easy to access and that it is portable. A metal box, such as is used for the storage of ammunition is ideal because it protects against moisture. Such boxes can be purchased at Army/Navy Surplus stores.
Next>> Month 7: Should You Go?